Cheshire's archives: a story shared

Frequently Asked Questions

 Q: Why are you doing this?

A: For two main reasons: conditions for the long term preservation of and access to Cheshire’s archives are no longer suitable at the Record Office; we know that people want to understand more about their past and the story of their communities, so we need to develop the service to increase the scope for people to be able to do this. This project is how we will deliver our vision (PDF, 948KB) for ‘Easy access to histories: collecting evidence of Cheshire communities’ lives past and present, for everyone, for the future’.

Q: When will the new centres be open?

A: We are submitting a ‘Round 1’ bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund this summer, with a decision before the end of year. If successful, we would enter a two year development phase, to prepare plans for the new centres and test some new ideas out to improve the service. A ‘Round 2’ bid would then follow towards the end of 2020. If successful the project would then enter its delivery stage, with the new centres opening in 2022 or 2023.

Q: Will the Record Office at Duke Street continue to be open for access until the new centres are ready?

A: There will inevitably be a closure in a few years’ time when we are ready to move into the new centres, but our intention is to keep interruption to our normal services to a minimum. It isn’t possible yet to give a firm timescale for this and we will keep our customers informed well in advance of any service changes.

Q: What opportunities will there be to get involved in developing the new service?

A: We will continue to talk to service users, residents, staff and volunteers over the course of the project. As the project progresses, and subject to funding, we will be testing out some new ideas, talking to people about the proposed design of the new centres and running further surveys at key stages. Please contact us at any time if you are interested in getting involved.

Q: If you are building two centres, will you still be one service?

A: We will still be a single service serving Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington.

Q: Are you splitting the collections?

A: Access to some collections will be available in Crewe for the first time. Over the next two to three years we will be working with our users to make good decisions about where it is best to locate the collections. It is very likely that we will continue to use offsite storage for a large proportion of the collections that can then be made available at either centre.

Q: Will public transport and parking be considered?

A: Yes, both sites have been selected with access in mind. Further information will be produced later in the development of the project.

Q: Where can I find out about progress with the project?

A: The best way is by signing up to our quarterly newsletter. You can subscribe here. We will continue to add progress reports and updates on this page.

Q: Will I still be able to use local history/family history resources in my library?

A: Yes, we will continue to provide local and family history resources to local libraries in Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East. We hope to develop this aspect of the service as part of the project and in a few years’ time you should see some exciting improvements locally – not just in Chester and Crewe.

Q: Will there be coffee and WiFi in the new centres?

A: Yes! We will want to provide refreshment facilities and WiFi will be a requirement in new 21st century buildings.

Progress reports

Between April and June 2014 Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils ran a public consultation about the potential relocation of the Cheshire Record Office. Almost 800 responses were received.

Archives transformation update: read the Report (PDF, 106KB) and Vision (PDF, 948KB) approved by Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils in January 2016.

Update October 2016: the Shared Services Joint Committee have approved a way forward (PDF, 1.23MB) for the Archives and Local Studies service.

Update September 2017: Cabinets in both Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council have approved the allocation of sites for new centres for the service.